Samsung has delivered a major makeover of their Gear Fit2 smartwatch, they have also revealed new Gear IconX earbuds.
The move comes as retailers and carriers are still trying to work out how to sell and in Telstra’s case, range the expanded smartwatches and accessories currently being developed by manufacturers.
Currently carrier retail stores are primarily set up with instore merchandising stands for smartphones, not watches and accessories. The only manufacturer to have custom developed merchandising stands for smartwatches claim some retailers is Apple.
Among the new products set to be released is a new Gear Fit smartwatch that has a wider touch screen, built-in GPS tracking and an improved (and now vertical) user interface.
The Gear Fit2 can also work with any Android phone running Android 4.4 KitKat or newer, using Samsung’s Gear Manager and S Health apps, whereas the first Gear Fit was only compatible with the company’s line of Galaxy smartphones. (There is no iPhone compatibility.)
When connected to an Android phone via Bluetooth, the Gear Fit2 can display text messages, email and other notifications. If you move for 10 minutes continuously, the Gear Fit2 guesses you’re working out and even guesses what you’re doing. Afterward, it will ask you to log it as a walk, run, bike ride or one of about a dozen other activities. The watch can also track steps, calories, heart rate, stair climbs and sleep.
The Gear Fit2 is water resistant, but not water proof. It will survive a shower or rainfall, but you don’t want to wear this while swimming. Samsung says it will get about three to four days’ worth of battery life. Another change: The first Gear Fit was only available in black; the new model comes in either black, blue or pink.
Another new product from the Korean manufacturer is the Gear IconX which is Samsung’s first go at delivering truly wireless earbuds.
Like the cable-free earbuds from pioneering companies such as Earin and Bragi, the Gear IconX relies on Bluetooth to connect its independent earbuds to each other and to a smartphone.
But they are not cheap. In Australia the devices are tipped to be over $300 they also only have a 3-and-a-half-hour battery life.
If you stream music from your phone, the buds can only give you about 1.5 hours of playback. A Samsung spokesman said the Gear IconX isn’t built to be a headset you wear all day, but instead to be available for workouts.
While they are designed to provide music, they have an array of sensors meant to capture data during workouts, as well as a voice guide that provides coaching.
Like the Samsung headphones, users swipe on small touch panels built into the side of each bud to control volume, switch songs and cue the guide.
It also interfaces and updates the Samsung Health app.
The Gear IconX has sensors that will track heart rate, motion, steps and distance travelled on its own, meaning you can leave your phone at home during a workout. It can track runs, walks, bike rides and other activity.
A small carrying case has its own battery and can charge the earbuds twice before needing to be plugged in.
You can get extra battery life-over 3? hours-out of the Gear IconX by pre-loading MP3s into its internal 4 gigabytes of memory via Samsung’s Gear Manager app.
The headset has sensors built in to know when you’re wearing it, so it can shut off when not in use. There is also an ambient-sound mode, so you can listen to music but still hear what is going on around you-an important safety feature for joggers and cyclists. A built-in mic also handles phone calls.